Phil, as usual makes very good points as did Arthur and Bob. I too remain unconvinced about the unbroken chain of succession.
I thought it might be interesting to start a poll on the topic but I couldn't think of a way to accurately describe what it is that TD is claiming. I guess, in my mind, this is the problem.
A couple weeks ago, I thought about doing a poll also. Then I realized that our collective opinions made no difference. The only thing that counts is the paper, the documentary evidence. Only facts make a difference. And the fact is that the documentation is not there. That is a fact, not an opinion. So we do not need a poll to show that no evidence exists to prove there has been an "unbroken succession". There is no need to disprove what is not there.
While your representation above about documentary evidence may indeed be a fact, it is a fact only in the narrow scope you choose to view provability of the succession argument. From your many posted assertions on the subject, it appears you will only be convinced if an original bill of sale is produced documenting all the details of a transaction involving the Thompson. (I'm not even sure if such a document were located that it would satisfy you.) While such a document may exist or not, if it does still exist, it is not necessarily something we can access. It would not be public information, nor would its existence change any of the overt actions evident in regards to Thompson succession over the years.
I’m going to look at this through the same lenses you are for a moment, and say that I agree with you completely. If you filter it all down to only being provable with an official succession document, you are correct. But that’s definitely not a reasonable standard to apply. The standard you apply fully ignores many facts involved in the Thompson product succession, because you will only accept one document that proves it all. Existence of such a document would be nice, but it’s not necessary to prove succession of the product.
For those who are now just joining this discussion, what we contend is that the succession of the Thompson extends from 1916 to the present day at Kahr. We are talking about the Thompson product which was and is a noted product in the marketplace, and has changed hands through time.
Some notes of reference to those who may not be completely familiar with the facts regarding succession, or the framing of the argument that we put forth:
Some members confuse this to be an argument for an unbroken use of the company name “Auto-Ordnance.” The name was revived by Numrich Arms, and really has nothing to do with the succession argument for the Thompson product itself. Kahr Arms owns the name “Auto-Ordnance,” and the Thompson logo trademark, and while some speculation and controversy exists around all this, it only distracts from the facts around Thompson succession.
This argument has nothing to do with the quality of product that was produced in West Hurley, or currently at Kahr. That simply has nothing to do with the current history of succession.
Phil, let me review some points you may have missed during TD’s presentation at Tracie’s last month. These are crucial for you to understand and contemplate, as they do speak directly to succession.
- TD’s article, as it was published in Small Arms Review, was reviewed prior to publishing by Cary Maguire, majority shareholder of Components Corporation of America. Cary is the son of Russell Maguire. He approved it as written. This is a very big deal. If you really consider this fairly, it should be the end of any contrarian speculation to succession. I will explore this further below…
- TD’s article was submitted to SAR over a year before it was published. Cary Maguire supplied some of the material that was used. Some of his pictures were edited from the article for length. The pictures came from his father’s (Russell Maguire’s) scrapbook, which Cary Maguire copied in full color for TD. A couple of these pictures were shown in the presentation, such as the one of Russell Maguire in front of the Maguire Industries company plane, and the one with Cary Maguire, his brother, father Maguire Russell, George Goll, and various police officers. Cary Maguire supplied the Willis cartoons and inside cover credit to the “Tommy” book that was featured in the SAR article. This was way before TD acquired another original “Tommy” book from the Willis heirs. My point here is that Cary Maguire took a substantial interest in TD’s article, supplied much content, and reviewed it before it was published. Really, consider that again….Cary Maguire took a substantial interest in TD’s article…he made contributions of never before seen material from his father’s estate….and he reviewed and approved the article before it was published. Again, this is a very big deal, and one that anyone who considers an opinion against succession must contend with. The article contains statements about succession, and notes the Kilgore use of the Thompson logo. One of the reasons Cary Maguire took an interest in reviewing the article, is he expressed some reservations about the manner in which his father was portrayed in Helmer’s “The Gun That Made The Twenties Roar.” TD also spoke to the CFO and Chief Legal Counsel of CCA, who vehemently assured him that CCA did not have any remaining interest in the Thompson. As TD mentioned in the presentation, TD’s perseverance on this point during the conversation with the CFO almost ended further discussion. But it did not, and TD’s efforts led to Cary Maguire contributing to, and approving the article. The Thompson is only a part of CCA’s corporate heritage. The Thompson was a product they sold off to Kilgore, who intended to manufacture and market it, a fact for which documentary proof exists, as well as the corresponding proof to support their reasons for not proceeding with the Thompson project as originally planned.
Now you can say what you want about how none of the above is official, notarized, filed in court, or otherwise documented in a form that you would accept, but it carries tremendous weight with me, as it should for the vast majority of those who are not Thompson succession conspiracy theorists. Again, keep the argument clear; we are talking about succession of the Thompson product from 1916 to the present. As you and others have argued repeatedly, you believe Maguire Industries did not sell off all of the Thompson, that they somehow retained rights to its intellectual property, or something... (Arthur still seems confused about the (nonexistent) patent issue, even though that was an argument he lost long ago.) Well, according to CCA, they sold the Thompson product. This is not only the opinion of the CCA CFO and Cary Maguire today, but it was the opinion as stated in the memoirs of Eugene Powers. Powers was a senior executive at Auto-Ordnance and Maguire Industries during WWII, and returned as President in 1950, when the company was failing financially, which was probably the main reason Maguire sold off the Thompson in 1949. Powers’ memoirs as they relate to the Thompson are not publicly published yet, but they do include an assertion that the Thompson was sold to Kilgore, and I have a copy if you would like to come and see it sometime. It is also supported by a letter to William J. Helmer dated January 13, 1964 from the former President of Kilgore Manufacturing Company who served when the transaction took place.
References to successive ownership of the Thompson are many. Some references are easy to find, while others took some detailed research to locate. Some of the research was done by Bill Helmer, and some was done by TD. With the exception of Arthur querying online regarding New York corporate business history, nothing substantive has been researched by PhilOhio or Arthur Fliegenheimer. Their participation in this discussion has been one of sideline commentary and target practice. I will say that Phil has maintained a much steadier focus and aim, while Arthur has been all around his own target and others, particularly recently.
I do want to say that I respect both PhilOhio and Arthur, and while we disagree on the subject of succession, I believe we all share a unique fondness for the TSMG, its attributes, and history, as do most on this board. We should probably just agree to disagree on this subject. It is a wonderful thing that we have the time and passion to discuss such an overall insignificant issue as this is to most people in the world. I consider Phil a friend, and know he has a vast amount of knowledge regarding the Thompson, in particular technical knowledge. I enjoyed interacting with Phil further at the show last month, and am grateful that he probably found the source of the feeding issue that my WH M1 suddenly developed. I hope to see him again at OGCA this weekend. Arthur, though he hides behind his moniker, has also been a source for many Thompson collecting facts, and I respect his knowledge in this area, and his furthering of overall Colt Thompson knowledge, in particular.
Now back to the subject of succession…
For those who have not seen it, you should look at the Kilgore sales flyer for the Model M1A1 Thompson Submachine Gun that was included in TD’s article. This is also a major fact that must be contended with by anyone who disputes succession. The Thompson became a new item to expand the product line of Kilgore. TD did much research in this area, speaking to every remaining Kilgore Ohio employee, an effort which included attending a Kilgore Ohio company reunion picnic. It’s pretty amazing that such an event was still in occurrence recently, while the company moved to Tennessee in 1961. He also toured the building where Kilgore housed the Thompson project.
Kilgore experienced a catastrophic event that prevented them financially from moving forward with their Thompson project, even though they had a project manager, had setup a production line for the Thompson in Westerville, and had a marketing plan for the Thompson. An explosion involving some of their military products on a ship in New Jersey drove a company decision to quickly reorganize and rename themselves, and to consolidate their assets in anticipation of lawsuits involving the death of over thirty people. The explosion also involved Hercules Powder Co. TD’s article in the September 2008 edition of Small Arms Review covers this subject in more detail.
Here’s where most people understand that Frederic A. Willis stepped in, and they are correct, but his involvement permeates the Thompson in more ways than his service as the leader of a “syndicate” of investors who acquired the Thompson from Kilgore.
Willis was a broadcaster at CBS during the 1930’s, and an executive with that company. He was also an Army reserve officer who received the Silver Star in World War I. In 1940, he was hired as a Vice President at the new Thompson Automatic Arms Company, headed by Russell Maguire. During this time, he developed an affinity for the Thompson, and helped ensure its success. His was a fondness he expressed in glorious written and illustrated form to his boss, Russell Maguire, by privately publishing the first book on the Thompson Submachine Gun, titled “Tommy.” It is a beautifully bound book with a sterling silver Thompson displayed under a clear dome on the front cover, and it provides a unique history of the weapon and its production up until 1943. Willis used his cartooning hobby to illustrate the book, as well as many familiar WWII period pictures, and some that have not yet been published elsewhere.
In the “Tommy” book, Willis had a choice. He chose to use the “T2” Thompson outline as a theme in the book, when he could have used the classic Thompson outline. Why did he do this? Willis was a forward thinker. He envisioned the company continuing to produce the Thompson in some form. This vision was also expressed within his cartoons for the ‘Tommy” book. While this is a circumstantial point, I believe that it substantially relates to his involvement with the Thompson product on two more significant occasions. Those occasions would have to wait several years, as Willis was called into the service of the OSS in 1943 until after the war ended.
One point that TD’s research uncovered was that when Maguire Industries decided to sell off the Thompson, they contacted Frederic Willis to do the deal. I believe Willis still demonstrated a passion for the future of the Thompson, and that’s why he became involved. Willis became the deal broker, and he found Kilgore as a buyer. After Kilgore’s misfortune, Willis again stepped in to broker a purchase and sale, which he and his other partners made to Numrich Arms of Mamaroneck, NY in 1951. At least one of his other partners was a former Auto-Ordnance executive named Teddy Hayes, the former boxing coach of Jack Dempsey. Willis admired the Thompson so much that he wrote a book about it, created many cartoons highlighting its significant history, and ensured it remained a viable business venture for prospective buyers on two occasions. Willis was well connected to the Thompson, and was an enabler for succession.
Once the Thompson was sold to George Numrich of Numrich Arms in Mamaroneck, NY, the company immediately set to advertising themselves as being the “Manufacturer of the Thompson Submachine Gun.” This was not a conspiracy, it was the truth. Legally, Numrich manufactured Thompson Submachine Guns. How they went about doing this is another subject that Arthur, in particular, likes to use as a distraction. It is well known that Numrich manufactured the TSMG’s by assembling receivers and spare parts they purchased as part of the overall deal from Willis. If Numrich wanted to just sell parts for the Thompson, like they did for countless other firearms, they would have been content with that. But they had purchased more than just the parts. As I stated, they immediately began advertising themselves as owning the TSMG, selling it, servicing it, and being a spare parts provider. They didn’t just do this once. They sustained their assertion as owner of the Thompson for decades, over and over again in their print advertising, and in their interviews for gun magazines in the 1950’s, 1960’s, and 1970’s. No one disputed this. This was not a conspiracy to make everyone think Numrich owned the Thompson. They owned the Thompson. They manufactured parts for the Thompson as needed, most notably barrels for the Thompson. They submitted a design to ATF for a semi-automatic Thompson in 1967, but the design was rejected. It took them seven more years to develop an approved design, which they took to market in early 1975. In the early 1970’s in West Hurley, NY, they also began manufacturing the fully automatic Model 1928’s. The rest is pretty well documented.
A U.S. Treasury Department letter to William J. Helmer dated January 17, 1967 indicated that, according to their records, Maguire Industries Inc. sold the ability to manufacture the Thompson to Kilgore Manufacturing Company of Westerville, OH in early 1949, and that Kilgore was a qualified dealer under the National Firearms Act.
Succession was the opinion of Savage Arms Corporation in response to an inquiry from William J. Helmer on September 10, 1963. They stated that Numrich owned and manufactured the Thompson for law enforcement, etc.
So, everyone needs to ask themselves upon what they base their opinion on this subject. Ask yourself if your opinion is based on all the information that has been consulted by TD during the preparation of his article. Ask yourself if you base your opinion on what others have stated in the past, and carefully consider just how much information they had access to in order to form their opinion. If your opinion does not include consideration of the following, then you are not fully informed, and may just be basing your opinion on what other, under-informed parties have put forth as fact. Some of the resources you must consider, that TD consulted during his research are as follows:
- The full set of correspondence (several hundred pages) accumulated by Bill Helmer during his 6-year, 1960’s study of the Thompson and its history, where he interviewed almost everyone still alive at the time who had been involved with the Thompson (Hardly anyone has seen these, yet they are one of the single greatest resources of Thompson Submachine Gun history in existence. – these documents were fully considered by TD in his article.)
- The contributions of Cary Maguire towards TD’s story, including Russell Maguire’s Thompson scrap book, and CCA’s assertion that they do not own the Thompson – I cannot emphasize enough how important his involvement is in the whole process that TD went about during the preparation of his article.
- The Eugene Powers biography, which provides a unique glimpse into the business workings of Auto-Ordnance, Maguire Industries, and the Thompson. (Hardly anyone has seen this, but it was fully considered during the preparation of TD’s article.)
- The Willis book “Tommy,” which gives us the basis to realize he was more than just a salesman. (Hardly anyone has seen this, either, but the contents were acquired by TD, courtesy of Cary Maguire)
- The Kilgore/H.P. White footnote in Helmer’s “The Gun That Made The Twenties Roar” regarding testing of the Thompson Autorifle. Most are unaware of it, and most don’t understand its significance. Kilgore was engaged in seeking a return on their large investment, and this was a subject that Helmer discovered during his research. TD expanded upon this research, and discovered that H.P. White was hired by Kilgore to setup a small arms test firing range.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Has the person whose opinion you may base yours upon really studied the resources as listed above
- Or, does the person’s opinion originate from things they have heard others say or write, who are definitely not as informed as TD became during the course of his research and preparation of the article. You simply cannot discount the overwhelming number of facts that exist to support succession, and that prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, in my opinion.
QUOTE (reconbob @ Sep 15 2008, 01:25 PM)
I do not believe Kahr has ever made, or has the ability to make, or
the licenses to make, or even wants to make a true full auto
"submachine gun". It just sounds good to say this.
Its hype. Its salesmanship. Its BS. It would not be correct or reasonable
for some present or future researcher to assert that this is documentation
or proof that Kahr manufactured full auto Thompson submachine guns.
And yet, perhaps 30 years from now when the trail is cold someone will
be doing just that...
You don't have to wait 30 years. Kahr has manufactured at least 2 Thompson Submachine Guns. We're trying to get them to bring them to a show and shoot.
I'm not a big Kahr fan, but...
1. They have the ability to make...
2. They have the license to make...
3. They apparently want to make...(because they have made)...
The Thompson Submachine Gun
This is separate from the succession argument, but I have to set the record straight.
I do not argue West Hurley or Kahr quality, although I know Kahr is making a concerted effort to improve it. It will take some sustained consistency, however, to overcome the current quality track record. The work they performed on their "C" drum is an effort in the right direction.
The AO name issue is also a separate argument. There is no doubt that Kahr owns the trademark. Maybe you could have challenged it back when you thought it was an issue, and you had a business reason to do something about it. You chose not to do so, for whatever reason. I could put together a very good argument that Kahr has every right to the AO name, but I see it as a distraction from the core of the Thompson succession argument.
Only one entity has ever challenged Kilgore, Numrich or Kahr regarding the Thompson trademark and/or name, that I am aware of, and they decided not to further pursue the issue after their initial challenge, based on information that the company was able to provide them as a basis for their ownership. (I am saying this, because I am aware of it to be true, however I will not and cannot cite my source or any further details of the challenge. You may write it off as undocumented, as far as I'm concerned. This is not the same issue as the repro Crosby drum I will reference below.)
The issue you mentioned with the Numrich vs. reproduction Crosby drums is a set of different circumstances. Numrich has not manufactured drums, to my knowledge, since they sold off AO and the Thompson to Kahr. Kahr was concerned that the newly manufactured repro Crosby's had "Thompson" on them, and that was the basis of their objection. I believe their objection resulted in the desired manufacturing changes, although Kahr's letter went to the extreme as far as requesting the cessation of manufacture, and collection of all repro Crosby drums that were sold, etc.
It's very interesting to see you quote WJH so often in your posts. He was very impressed with TD's work, and was one of the people who reviewed TD's article before it was published, in addition to Cary Maguire. Helmer has always sensed that there was something more to the Thompson succession story. WJH was so impressed with TD's article, that he wants to include a summary of it in a re-write of "The Gun That Made The Twenties Roar." This is a book project that he asked me to partner with him on, and has been in the works for over 2 years. I helped him to regain the rights to the book, as he had sold them off previously. When I mention I have a couple of other major projects in the works, the rewrite of TGTMTTR is one of them.
I would also like to add that TD is uniquely qualified in his opinion on this subject, which is a fact he does not discuss, however I can say that he is much more qualified than any of us participating in this debate to have a fully informed opinion on this type of business subject.
I don’t think that “railroader” could have imagined how his post could have taken on such a life of its own. This will be the last post in the “Replica” thread. I’m closing it, and as the board owner, am putting in the last word. For those who disagree with succession, we can agree to disagree. Move forward…